What to know before you buy

| Friday, September 3rd, 2010 | No Comments »

My first home purchase!

I work with a lot of first time homebuyers and quite honestly they are some of my favorite clients! They are excited, eager and they tend to hang on my every word making me feel like a real expert! Ok, enough about me.

Buying a home is definitely not the easiest thing you will do in your lifetime. There is so much to know and it can be scary and overwhelming. Here are some basic tips to get you going in the right direction.

Before you do anything, go get pre-approved. You can go to a bank or a mortgage broker (I’d be happy to tell you the difference!) and they will help you determine what you can afford. It seems silly to skip this step and go right to the home search process but people do it all the time. If you need help with referrals in this department, let me know. In addition, know what you can afford! Don’t forget to consider all your other expenses that you will have in addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Yes, those student loans will still come once you are a homeowner so make a budget and include everything then make sure your mortgage payment fits into this budget.

Don’t be too picky but also don’t compromise on the important things. If you hate the wall color in the bedroom but the house is within walking distance to your favorite park, it’s a no-brainer. But sometimes there are harder decisions like maybe the house is on a busy street but it has the square footage and yard size that you want. My advice is to look into the future. If the bigger house and yard is ultimately going to fit your needs in the long run that may win out over the busy street. It may be better than finding a small house on a quiet cul-de-sac that you will outgrow in a few years.

If you are buying new construction, don’t get suckered into unnecessary upgrades. They will add up quickly and before you know it you could easily add another $10,000-$30,000 to the purchase price. Again my advice is to look both at your budget and the future. Can you afford the additional expense and will those upgrades add value to your home in the long run? For example, the next homeowner might not care that you paid an extra $5000 to get real wood blinds instead of the perfectly-fine-faux-wood blinds and trust me, its hard to tell the difference!

Lastly, don’t do this alone. Hire a buyer’s agent to help you with this huge endeavor. We are a great resource and are a wealth of knowledge and the even better part is that a buyer’s agent will cost you nothing (an agent’s commission is paid by the seller in most standard transactions.) See earlier post titled “Why hire an agent?”

So now that you know what pitfalls to look out for, you can begin the home buying process with confidence. Despite the stress, I think you will find it to be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life!

My first home purchase! Everett, WA

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